The Grasslands Cattle Plantation
The plantation was originally 1200 acres. The east edge of the plantation was the middle of present day Providence St. and went south to the A.L. Gustin golf course. The Rock wall around the plantation was built by Grassland’s servants who carried rocks, by hand, from the MKT railroad across Stewart Rd.
Originally the plantation had three cabins. Two remained when we bought the house in 1954. One cabin was a garage that was converted into a servant’s quarters. It was torn down in 1968 by Brothers attacking it with a keg. The other cabin, which was destroyed by fire in 1991, was originally an ice house. George Bingham had converted it into a study room for his sons. The current Phi Delta Theta house is located where the original barns and stables for the cattle were.
The house was built in 1878 by George Bingham Rollings. In 1939, Dr. Claude Bruner (an ear, nose, and throat doctor) bought the house from the Rollins family. He added the columns and porch, the white siding, and the sunken garden. He also paneled the library with timber from The Grasslands acreage. He imported chandeliers from Austria (insured for $1,500 & $1,000). The powder room and the guest bathroom were the kitchen. The house mother’s room was the dining room. The one-man loft was a bathroom that was connected to the “New Orleans” room which was the master-bedroom and was connected to the “Fireplace room”. The Grasslands stepping stone was laid when the house as built in 1880 as a stepping stone for carriages. Originally, there was one of each tree native to Missouri planted on The Grasslands property.
Today, Phi Kappa Psi is one of the largest land owning fraternities with 4.5 acres.